Antiques Shoes? Maybe collectibles?

Handmade shoes1

Barbara’s shoes. Photo by Mikell Herrick

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Mikell and baby in 1983. Photo by Leslie Thompson

At least something old and awesome!

BY Mikell Herrick, Dunedin, FL

I remember seeing these handmade shoes in a crafter’s booth at Northern Lights Festival Boreal, Sudbury Ontario in 1982 (or maybe ’83) and I had to have them. They were the most lovely pair of shoes I had ever seen—just my kind of footwear. More than 30 years ago, it’s hard to remember the exact date or even to be sure of the craftsperson, after all this time. However, a friend of mine recently told me she is sure that they were made by Barbara Holzmark of Nova Scotia because she bought (and still has) a pair of her shoes too. And her memory is better than mine.

These shoes were worn for a few years almost daily and eventually I wore the soles very thin and decided to retire them before I put a hole right through but never to throw them away. I thought, some day I will have them re-soled. I haven’t, kept them in a box in my closet until recently.

On the occaision of my recent birthday, my friend (with Barbara’s shoes and the good memory) posted a Facebook photo of me at that 1980s festival wearing those shoes. That got us talking about them and because I was in the process of moving to Florida at the time, I found them as I was packing up all my worldly treasures.

I took them out and tried them on again. They still fit and still feel as good as I remember—that smooth, soft feeling, as if you really have nothing on your feet—only better!

The soles will still need some help if I want to wear them again (and I do!) and I hear there’s a good leather repair craftsman in my new hometown who I plan to recruit for this task soon. There is a little wear on the embroidery but not so noticeable that it matters. I still love these shoes and feel 30 years younger when I put them on. Maybe there is magic in them! I tried to find a contact for Barbara to thank her for her wonderful craftsmanship but I haven’t had any luck. By sharing my story with the Monitor, I hope she sees it and finds out where her creation ended up, and continues to live. I’m sure it would bring a smile and the rewarding feeling that all artisans appreciate.

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